User Generated Content – The Positive and Negatives for Brands

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We as marketers are all aware that UGC is absolutely everywhere and whether we like it or not, brands can be amplified into the marketing spotlight, without any slight control – whether it be for a good or bad reason.

In essence, the positives for the brand are:

  • It is a simple marketing technique
  • It is easy to create a platform for users to upload their own content
  • The younger generation tend to use social media more and are therefore are boosting brand engagement levels
  • It is great for marketing communications and the content itself can be used for multiple purposes

Gemma Cutting, Deputy Managing Director at PromoVeritas, says: Many of our clients’ campaigns involve inventive forms of UGC such as selfies, photos, designs, tie-breakers and even inventions. These types of promotions tend to create a bigger buzz and are more likely to go viral – particularly when there is voting involved.

However, there are negatives for all types of marketing, particularly promotional marketing…

  • The brand has no control of what is being posted by consumers
  • If you are running an open dialogue promotion you must have moderation in place. Entrants can freely post content on public social media pages and a team must be in place first to ensure moderation excludes content that could jeopardise the brand. The National Lottery Olympics campaign, is a prime example of a Twitter campaign that ended up in the press for all the wrong reasons, with consumers sabotaging the campaign with negative content that was then posted online.
  • ASA complaints – If a member of the public complains your brand could be at risk of an upheld ASA ruling

To ensure that your promotion is always a winner, you must plan ahead and have a solid set of Terms and Conditions that cover-off any impending disasters. Building checks and time for moderation and adjudication in to your campaign plan is also essential.

Top tips for creating successful UGC campaigns:

  • Ask users to share photographs / stories with you – give a clear call to action to encourage fans to post
  • Create a brand hashtag and use this on social media, particularly Instagram, to monitor engagement from your “brand ambassadors”
  • Monitor indirect mentions of your products, brand or service
  • Develop a “wall” of content so users can see the community they’re part of
  • Consider where you can re purpose this type of marketing material to build trust both online and offline
  • Be mindful of what can go wrong when you encourage users to engage with your brand, and be prepared to put out fires quickly

Executed well, a UGC campaign can work wonders for your brand’s engagement and ultimately its’ longevity. Take simple steps such as sharing and engaging with posts users have tagged your brand in to test the waters, before building up to create brand hashtags and wider campaigns of this type. For help an advice with running a UGC campaign for your brand, do not hesitate to contact for support.

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